This week’s

August 20, 2017
Sarah Benton


No doubt about what took up most media time in many countries this last week August 14th -20th, 2017: it was Pres. Trump’s failure to name those drawn to the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally for what they are. Far right, white, provocateurs spoiling for a battle, the street fighters of a movement to rehabilitate the leaders of the Confederate army in the American 1861-65 civil war. This is not directly a JfJfP issue but it’s impossible to ignore as media in and about the Middle East have been quick to draw comparisons between Trump, the far right, white supremacists on the one hand and Netanyahu, the far right, Israeli Jewish supremacists on the other.

Akiva Eldar leads four of the many commentators who have commented on this:
FACTS, says Trump, are what I want. He doesn’t like the ones he’s seen

The Forward’s Nathan Guttman went to Charlottesville to see for himself. Like many he was dismayed to find open antisemitism and other forms of racism thriving under the Great Leader:
Open space for white supremacists

Pres. Trump and PM Netanyahu were not the only ones to stay uncharacteristically silent on white supremacist violence. So too, says Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt in the Forward, were leaders of the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox bodies:
Orthodox Jews in the US stay silent on white supremacy

The importance of giving the right names to things is stressed by B’Tselem’s director Hagai El Ad in an interview in Fathom. Somehow the mythology about the village in the jungle must be punctured by insisting on portraying the colonial occupation for what it is and does:
We must speak the truth, to ourselves first

Amira Hass applies this lesson to one of most shocking episodes in Israel’s history: the theft of babies born to Mizrahi mothers. The babies were given to Ashkenazi Israelis. The biological mothers were told their babies had died. Not a new story but one that has recently been backed up by new testimony:
Shout for the stolen babies

The Jewish National Fund once represented the Jewish Dream – restoring the land of Palestine into a country fit for Jews. Today, says Peace Now, it is still acquiring land but by very dubious methods:
How the JNF goes about getting land

Wishful thinkers had hoped perhaps Pres. Trump would be able to cut a deal with Palestinians. Well if not him, at least his son-in-law Jared Kushner. They will be disappointed as those who have known the perfectly-tailored young man for some time could have told them. He has never been known to take a stand on any political principle including human rights and justice:
Don’t put your hope in the Jewish Kushners

A particular autobiographical narrative has developed about Israel: ‘I was brought up as a tribal, Israel-loving diaspora Jew, and then I discovered Palestine’. This version is told by American Seth Anziska:
Crash! devoted to Israel and to modernity

Likud has two particular problems at the moment: 1) If Bibi goes down under a welter of corruption charges who will succeed him? And 2) what are they to do about a rush of new members – the ‘new Likudniks’? Despairing of defeating the governing party in an election their aim is to bore away from the inside at the most illiberal stanchions of the party:
All aboard for a new Likud

As to the first, the personal crisis of Mr Security Netanyahu, Amos Harel observes that his confidence and judgment have become very flakey:
Beleagured PM blames fake news and conspiracies

This is an episode of the reality that Hagai El Ad wants to see being relayed to Israelis. A motorbike owned by Palestinian Michael Mansour was stolen. He reported the theft to the police. Shortly afterward three police officers came toward him, and attacked him. They accused him of stealing the bike. How many other innocent Palestinians get head-butted or locked up because to the Israeli police force all Palestinians are called Mohammed and are criminals?
Police beat up a ‘Mohammed’ who reports his stolen motorcycle

And another example of rattling the status quo by the accurate naming of government parts: since the Al-Aqsa gates debacle, the PA has announced it is ending its work with COGAT which, they say,  aims to “consolidate the colonial system through illegal settlements”.
PA ends security pact with Israel

The US State department has issued one of its country reports on human rights in the oPt. The authors describe in detail how the oppressive and punitive system works. The only thing they don’t do is name it – settler colonialism, apartheid, illegal occupation…
A brief history of managing Palestinians

It seems rather romantic of Prof. Nathan Brun to suggest that had there not been a love triangle which helped bring down PM HH Asquith it is quite probable there would be no Balfour Declaration. Asquith had little interest in Jews or Palestine. There were three Jews in his war-time Cabinet in various posts. One of them, Edwin Montagu, was an outspoken anti-Zionist (included in the post is his August 1917 Memorandum on Antisemitism, addressed to the British Cabinet. It begins: I deny that Palestine is today associated with the Jews or properly to be regarded as a fit place for them to live in):
Love, sex and the Balfour Declaration

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